Indian Navy To Deploy Its ‘Special Forces’ For G20 Meet In Kashmir; Who Are The MARCOS & What Makes Them Special

Penned By Senior War Journalist, Neeraj Rajput

Recent terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir have prompted Indian security agencies to deploy MARCOS and NSG’s ‘black-cat’ commandos for the upcoming G-20 meetings in Srinagar, including the world-famous Dal Lake.

While Indian Navy’s marine commandos (MARCOS) are specialized in maritime operations, NSG forms India’s elite anti-hostage special forces.

Some G-20 meetings are scheduled to take place in Kashmir, for which foreign dignitaries will be visiting Srinagar and may take a shikara (boat) ride at Dal Lake.

India is also showcasing the Kashmir Valley as a significant tourist destination in contrast to the terrorism that has ruled the roost since the late 80s. But with the abrogation of Article 370, peace and normalcy is returning to the Kashmir Valley, which is giving severe heartburn to Pakistan.

First, a terror attack on an Indian Army truck leading to the death of five soldiers on April 20, and then the infiltration attempts by Pakistan-based terrorists along LoC have raised serious concerns in the security apparatus of India.

Thus MARCOS and NSG commandos will be deployed in Srinagar for the G-20 conference. Many netizens wondered why the marine commandos were being deployed to Srinagar while using the NSG was logical.

Jammu Kashmir Police (JKP) held a special meeting on Wednesday (May 3) to review the G20 meeting security, which officers from Indian Army, CRPF, BSF, and intelligence agencies attended. JKP Adl DG Vijay Kumar headed the meeting.

In the meeting, it was decided to deploy MARCOS at Dal Lake and the Jhelum River in Srinagar town. National Security Guards (NSG) commandos will give extra security cover to the already deployed CRPF and other central armed police forces (CAPFs).

Indian Navy’s marine commandos are highly trained for maritime operations. From being deployed in every major warship of the Indian Navy for anti-piracy operations in the Arabian Sea to the recent deployment of ships in war-torn Port Sudan, MARCOS is ready for any contingency situation.

But the deployment of MARCOS at Dal Lake has surprised everybody. But those associated with the security of Jammu and Kashmir know it’s not the first time that MARCOS have been deployed in the Valley.

“MARCOS of the Indian Navy were deployed for the first time in Kashmir Valley in the mid-90s. A full ‘Prahar’ (group of 18 marine commandos) has since been deployed at Wular Lake along LoC. After their deployment, the infiltration route of the terrorists coming from the Pakistan side has ceased”, says Captain DK Sharma (Retired), a well-known naval expert.

File Image: MARCOS

In the mid-90s, Wular Lake, which is spread over 65 sq km, was an entry point for the terrorists into the Kashmir Valley after crossing the Line of Control (LoC) from Pakistan. The counter-insurgency grid by the marine commandos in the Wular Lake, along with Indian Army’s Rashtriya Rifles (RR), choked this entry point. Now, very few (in fact, nil) cases of terrorist infiltration are reported from Wular Lake.

“Marine commandos are specialized in underwater attacks and can smell anything in water; that’s why it has been decided to deploy MARCOS at Dal Lake for the prestigious G-20 meetings,” Capt Sharma told EurAsian Times.

During the 26/11 terror attack on Mumbai, besides the city police, MARCOS were the first responders for the terrorists in the Taj Hotel. MARCOS engaged the terrorists till the NSG commandos took charge.

During the Galwan Valley skirmish with the Chinese PLA in Eastern Ladakh, MARCOS were again deployed at the 140 Km long Pangong Tso (Lake). The Line of Actual Control (LAC) between India and China passes through this Pangong Tso (while one-third of the Lake is in Indian territory, the other two-thirds is with China).

NSG is India’s federal agency for any (or all) anti-terrorist-related contingency force, particularly for anti-hijacking and anti-hostage operations. NSG is a special force designed, equipped, and trained to thwart any serious act of terrorism.

NSG has proved its mettle from the Gandhinagar attack (2002) to the 26/11 attack and the Pathankot air base attack (2016). In recent years it was tasked to be deployed in Srinagar during the peak of terrorism in the post-Burhan Wani encounter period. But since then, no incident had occurred where Black-cat commandos were pressed into action.

During G-20 meetings, NSG commandos will be deployed for backup security for any contingency, informed a top Indian security establishment source on condition of anonymity to EurAsian Times. This is mainly because, besides JKP, CRPF and other CAPF personnel will be deployed in Srinagar to secure the G-20 conference.

  • Penned By: Neeraj Rajput
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